Kennel Cough Strikes yet Again!

Kennel Cough in the Comox Valley is a hot topic yet again this week. Here at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, we have had a surge of patient calls and visits for this reason and would like to share a few basics on what we are seeing, what you can do, and when to see your veterinarian.

When we use the term “kennel cough,” it is a very broad term that basically includes several different viruses that can cause a cough and other respiratory symptoms. The symptoms we hear about most often are: a dog is coughing, coughing to the point of retching, choking or honking sound, presence of phlegm or whitish fluid being coughed or gagged up as a result of coughing, runny nose and eyes, sneezing and/or reverse sneezing. In most common cases, these symptoms resolve after two weeks and can be safely treated at home.

What to do if your dog starts coughing:

  • Give your dog plenty of rest and downtime, no vigorous play.
  • Keep your dog away from busy dog areas. Kennel Cough is extremely contagious, do your part not to spread the outbreak!
  • Help your dog to drink more fluids, consider adding some healthy broth to the water bowl to increase fluid intake.
  • Keep a closer eye on your pet to make sure that more serious symptoms don’t occur.

When to call your vet:

  • You have an immuno-compromised pet, a senior pet or a young puppy who has developed respiratory symptoms you are concerned with.
  • Your dog has a fever (temperature over 39.2 degrees centigrade)
  • Your dog becomes lethargic, non-responsive, stops eating or drinking, stops eliminating.
  • Is having a really hard time breathing- not just coughing.
  • Your dog has been coughing for over two weeks, and symptoms aren’t resolving.

Just like in human medicine, being vaccinated for Kennel Cough does not mean your pets are immune to all strains of the virus. What most veterinarians vaccinate for which falls under the “kennel cough umbrella” is:

  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica (in the oral Bordetella vaccine)
  • Distemper Virus (in your pet’s core DAP vaccine)
  • Canine Adenovirus (in the DAP vaccine)
  • Parainfluenza (included in both the core DAPP vaccine and the intranasal Bordetella vaccine)

If you are trying to prevent your animal from becoming infected with Kennel Cough, stay clear of dog parks and doggy daycare while the virus is evident in the community. While out walking, try to avoid stopping to sniff or “have a play” with other unknown dogs and remember that the virus can be contagious after symptoms have resolved, so respect your fellow dogs by staying close to home if your dog is under the weather.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 250-334-8400.

Written by: Van Isle Veterinary Hospital